Let’s talk about Nerd Bakugou

So there’s a little scene in episode 24
of Boku no Hero Academia that sort of hits home something it took me
a while to notice: Bakugou is really, really clever.

He masks it with explosions and the
worst pubescent attitude this side of a /RedPill commentator, but the
boy is a strategist. He’s perceptive and his moves are extremely
premeditated.
The show and the manga love to throw this in our
faces by the way. Anyone with half a brain (sadly this excludes my son
Kaminari) who has been in a room with him, is aware of this.

Aizawa
certainly is, in that wonderful scene from the Bakugou x Uraraka fight, as are several of his classmates.
In fact, the show LOVES slapping us in
the face with this little tidbit of knowledge. Here’s one from
the OVA.

And then there’s that fight scene near the
end of season 1.

This one is probably the most impressive, because
please note that Bakugou, who ostensibly hates the living shit out of Deku, is absolutely saving his life here, in a
split second decision, in a very chaotic battle.
In a scene, I might add,
where Deku is nearly getting himself killed in a pretty stupid way.

In the scene, All Might is caught by
Kurogiri and when running to rescue him, Izuku is on the verge of
being swallowed.

A split second later, this happens.

Foils

I love that scene, because it is Very
Insightful and for me, it puts Bakugou right up there as one of the
better antagonists in the anime I watch.
You see, he’s an obvious
foil for our hero. But what makes him special, is that he’s a foil on
so many facets
. I mean, several characters mirror Deku in some
way or another, but Bakugou is by far the most complex. He’s a
character whose depth goes a mile underground and then explodes into
a warren of underground caverns.
What this scene shows, in
particular, is that Bakugou is way better at keeping a cool head,
making him, at this point in the series, a much stronger hero than
Izuku
. He has him beat on TWO of his three strong points.
It goes
like this.
If you want to put it in symbolic terms, what Deku has
going for him, is Brain, Strength and Heart.
Strength is One for
All. Izuku is given literal superstrength, but at this point, he has
yet to master it. See: all the broken bones. All of them.
On the
other hand, we’ve been introduced to Kacchan as someone with a
powerful quirk. As a result of being coddled his entire life, he’s a
complete emotional mess, a sack of raging hormones (and just… so
many explosions), but as a hero and a fighter, he’s incredibly
strong. He has a very good grip on his quirk. He even knows his own
limits, creating a costume that lets him go over them.

Which takes us right towards the Brain. From the
start, this has been shown to us as Izuku’s advantage. He has all
those notebooks, he’s constantly muttering under his breath, thinking
up strategies. His intelligence, his perceptiveness is what makes Izuku special, or so we’re
told.
But here’s the thing: Kacchan is as clever as he is. He is,
at the very least, as perceptive and good at creating or
recognizing, strategies as Deku. Even in the official stats you see
this. Kacchan has 4/5 intelligence, the same as Izuku. For
comparison: someone like Yaoyozoru has 6/5, whereas dum dum Denki has
1/5 (poor thing, I still love you).
More importantly, for someone
who loses it at the most minor of social interactions, Bakugou does
keep his head cool in a fight.
He stays cautious in his duel against
Uraraka, he recognizes that plan in the OVA and he reacts quickly and
precisely in the villain fight.
In this regard, he has Deku beat.
Remember that every time Deku (nearly) fails,
it’s because he lets his emotions take over. You see it in his duel
with Shinsou, you see it with his willingness to save All Might and
nearly get killed. That shit with the portal dude happens twice in
the same friggin fight.
And it nearly kills Deku twice also. But this is All Might and Izuku loses his
shit when it comes to saving his loved ones.
Now, later chapters reveal that Kacchan is At Least as much of an All Might fanboy as
Deku, but in that particular fight, he manages to keep his cool.
Because Bakugou is most at ease in a fight. He’s most concentrated in
a battle. He’s in his element there.

Which brings us to the Heart, where
Izuku is still on top and where Kacchan has so, so much growing to
do. I could (and probably will) write an entire rant about Kacchan’s
emotional journey throughout the manga, but for now, let’s just say
that he has some Inner Turmoil™ and it’s causing him to act in ways
that would get him kicked out of friggin 4chan for being an ass.
Meanwhile, Izuku wins at empathy. This is one of his strongest suits.

He wants to help people. He’s so
preoccupied with saving people that it sometimes turns out to be his
downfall. He very nearly dies in that All Might fight. He loses that
Todoroki fight, but in the end, he does save Todoroki. So while he
has to work on his Strength, and has to find a better balance between
his Heart and his Brain.
Kacchan main goal towards becoming a hero is to grow emotionally (even if he doesn’t realize it yet), but no one in their right mind has any doubts about his Strength and is Brain.

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